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4.5 out of 5 stars45
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 4 September 2011
Great follow up book to her Bake and Decorate. Pictures of every recipe, either individually or as part of a tea party shot. Really lovely ideas for making some very cute teatime treats.

I was really taken with her teapot, piggy bank, beside the seaside bucket cake, Cheshire cat cupcakes and elephant cake designs to name but a small handful. Chapters are themed round tea parties, to make as a whole or bit by bit here and there. The book is nicely done, one of its little features that tickled me is that for the serving number guide there is a motif of the shape of the cake, so the piggy bank is a cute little pink piggy with a curly tail, with the serving number below it.

Each cake is ranked one to three birthday candles, showing if it is easy, some effort or challenging. This is not a how-to step-by-step-assembly picture cake book, though I do think the text instructions are clear and good. Still, being a Fiona Cairns cookbook even if you never did any of the decoration ideas, you would still have some top notch cakes to serve your guests. For example Banoffee, Flourless Lemon Polenta Cake with Limoncello Syrup, Coconut and Chocolate Stripy Cake, Masala Chai with Ginger Fudge Icing or the one I made today - a Marmalade Syrup Cake, which was moist, sticky and delicious.

I would have loved to have been given this for my birthday, but alas I didn't have the patience to wait and had to buy it early :)
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on 5 October 2011
his book is not what you might think and from someone who designed the royal wedding cake you might be expecting a cake mostly about sugarcraft. Actually the clue to the type of cakes contained within lies on the front cover of this book. These recipes are about flavour as much as decorated cakes and this book contains a wealth of recipes that would be suitable for more adult like birthdays or even everyday baked treats. There are quite a few cakes that are sugarcraft modelled, but other recipes concentrate much more on flavour than any fancy or hard to do sugarcrafted designs like very lemony meringue cake; tiramasu cake; liquorice toffee cake to name some.

All the recipes in The Birthday Cake book have a photograph to accompany them, there are a range of recipes following themes for parties (glamping, vampire party, Alice in wonderland, etc) that include small cakes like blueberry yoghurt fairy cakes, earl grey tea fairy cakes and biscuits like chocolate dinosaurs, or pastel ice cream sandwiches through to larger layer or family size cakes and even a recipe for brownies, some other tray bakes and one savoury smoked salmon and cream cheese stacked cake.
The sugarcraft or modelled range of recipes consists of a gingerbread house; russian dolls; a crystal skull; playing dice; robots; crocodile handbag; box of chocolates; erupting volcanoe; football boots; pirate galleon; seaside bucket cake; fresh flower heart; alice's teapot; piggy bank; marzipan fruits hat; bejewlled elephant; a fantasy castle; merry go round; wigwam; and vegetable plot cake. There are templates for some cake designs and written directions (these may be hard to follow if your not too proficient in sugar craft).

This book is a good buy if you have older or grown up children and are looking for inspiration for grown up parties, if you want to follow a theme for a party and are looking for ideas, or if you just want some interesting flavoursome cake recipes for tea.
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on 8 November 2012
Loved her programme and recipes but found the American terms used in the book confusing ie all purpose flour, superfine sugar, confectioners sugar...and the mish mash of measuring formats erratic. Ounces, cups, pounds, scant cups, sticks of butter, tablespoons. Why can't she use grams? It makes it hard work to follow, and spoils an others wise great collection of recipes.
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on 28 August 2011
The Birthday Cake Book

Another great book from fantastic, Royal Wedding cake maker; Fiona Cairns. In her new, second book Fiona presents a very well balanced book of fun looking novelty cakes as well as some great tasting and inspirational cakes full of flavour and imagination. Look out for Blackberry, lavender rose and white chocolate cake, Rhubarb and anise crumble cake, Chocolate wigwam - fab - and for those who want savoury cakes try the Smoked Salmon cake - sounds wierd but recipe looks great as do all the other photos and recipes in a great new book - perfect for novelty cake makers and home bakers alike! Enjoy

Also try this book too for great tasting cakes: Bake & Decorate
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on 12 September 2011
I loved Fiona Cairns last book and some of her recipes are regularly in my repetoire. I made some of the toffee apples with my children at the weekend and they were a big hit and delicious. The decorations, especially the garden are so inspiring and I will definitely have a go.Fiona Cairns recipes are very reliable and all have a clever twist to them. I am going to leaf through the book with my diary and work out which recipes will suit members of my family and friends on their birthdays, it will be the nearest they will get to having a cake made by the Royal Wedding Cake maker!
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on 1 October 2011
tried the stripy cake, it was really good. the recipe and method were quite accurate! great, very entertaining recipe! i always wanted to learn how to make this typ0e of cake! the chocolate cream tasted just like store bought!
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on 10 August 2015
Having raved over Fiona's other book 'Seasonal Baking', I couldn't wait to get my paws on this one - and they weren't on it for long, because they were reaching for the mixing bowl and wooden spoon, pronto!

Oh, what a lovely book this is. I should stress that it is a book for 'celebrations' ie cakes that you decorate for celebratory purposes but having said, there are many recipes that aren't 'decorated' and which anyone can enjoy at any time. You only have to look at the glorious photographs to salivate for each and every recipe, and here are the non-celebratory ones I've tried:

Marmalade Syrup Cake (Page 145) - there are no words to adequately describe just how DIVINE this cake is!
Turkish Delight Meringue (Page 35) - easy-peasy and fab
Tiramisu Cake (Page 155) - Italy on a plate
All-in-one Apricot & Almond Cake (Page 178) - a doddle to make, a doddle to eat!
Allergen-free Chocolate Cake (Page 175) - watch it disappear before your very eyes ......
Blueberry Yoghurt Fairy Cakes (Page 130) - they'll last about 15 seconds!!!!
Blackberry, Lavender, Rose & White Chocolate Cake - Page 113 - oooooohhhhhhhh
Pistachio, Grand Marnier & Olive Oil Cake (Page 68) - double YUM
Flourless Lemon Polenta Cake (Page 62) - scrumptious beyond belief

What I like about Fiona is that she devises her own recipes which tantilise your taste buds and have them screaming for more.

NOTE: the recipes for a lot of the 'celebratory' cakes are quite lengthy by virtue of the fact that they need care and attention to achieve the desired effect, but nevertheless are easy to follow if you need to impress. You will.
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on 19 October 2011
I am very pleased with the book but i do find the instructions slightly difficult to follow at the moment i am doing the handbag cake so fingers crossed it looks good,i was very pleased with how soon my book arrived
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on 27 September 2011
Fiona's first book, Bake and Decorate, has been used a thousand times in my kitchen and in those of my friends to whom I still give copies as presents. I have been looking forward to the second, even though I am not really a decorator of cakes. I do love to see the very clever and original ideas for decoration but essentially, I am after the inspirational cake recipes that I know have been tested and work everytime! My cakes are the talk of the neighbourhood - I just keep quiet that it is the Royal cakemaker and her recipes who is the real toast of the town! Many, many beautiful and amusing ideas (loved the play on fairy cakes and cup cakes) and detailed styling. The seaside bucket, the crocodile handbag, the football boots and the Troika dolls are some of the wonderful ideas backed up with simple elegance, such as the rhubarb crumble and the very lemony meringue.
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on 13 May 2012
I wasn't keen on Fiona's first book 'Bake & Decorate' so bought this quite prepared to return it. I find it difficult to believe that the woman who made & decorated Kate & Wills wedding cake decorated these cakes. The fondant work is decidedly shoddy with some rather bizarre decoration examples (what are the robots about??). However...the recipes are rather fabulous. The Lemony Meringue Cake is easy and absolutely delicious, plus it looks fabulous! I think you need to look at the cakes themselves rather than the decorations. This book is better thought of as a flavour source, NOT a decorating book.
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